globalapron Sweden

 Malin Lidén, is an apronista from Uppsala, Sweden. Her globalapron contribution is vivid with detail – the darkness of her great-grandmother’s existence, a mother’s love for her child, making do, and a woman’s ingenuity. 

My great-grandmother Ester lived up in the north of Sweden. It was very poor there and an especially hard life for women. The nearest food store was 36km (approximately 22 miles) away, and Judith, her daughter (and my grandmother) walked 12km (7 miles) to school.

My grandmother was a little girl in the 1930s, and when she needed an apron, Great-Grandmother Ester sewed one that would grow with Judith for some years. Fabrics were hard to get and, on top of that, expensive, so an apron such as this was a smashing idea, if you ask me! Decades later, my grandmother found her little apron and showed it to me. Redesigned and named the Ruuthie, this children’s apron is one that I now make and sell.

We live in a time that make us be extra careful with what we already have, so I re-cycle old fabrics and give them a new life in the form of my Ruuthie aprons. Here are Bianca and Maija washing up in their Ruuthies.
Bianca and Maija washing up in their Ruuthies
Maija baking gingerbread cookies and Leo and Texas in Ruuthie
Maija baking gingerbreads at christmas time              Leo and Texas wearing Ruuthie rock 'n roll
rock ‘n roll.

Great-grandmother Ester past away in 1982, and Grandmother Judith is now 86 years old and lives in Arjeplog, a native lapic town with a population of 3600.

I live in Uppsala, Sweden’s 4th largest city, and very close to Stockholm. And I manufacture my Ruuthie Apron here in Uppsala. I just love aprons and I am very happy to be an apronista and share my love of the apron through my great-grandmother’s design.

Tie One On…a tablier, of course!



Patricia Diawara is fabulously French and were you to hear her telling of this story, her accent alone would have you captivated. Her apron story begins with a young girl, Annie Collins.

Born in 1875, Annie grew up in London and worked as a maid for the Harris family (Canadian manufacturer of agricultural machinery and co-founder of the Massey Harris Company, later Massey Ferguson). She moved to Paris to follow the Harris family and there met and married Jean Brass (valet de chambre for the Harris family). Annie and Jean followed their employers when they returned to Canada. The couple stayed in Canada for two years and decided to come back to France because the winters were too cold.

In 1924, Annie and Jean bought a house in a small village, Millery, located in Lorraine (northeastern France). They lived there with their only son, Francis Brass, their daughter-in-law, Adèle Brass, and grand-daughter, Jacqueline Brass (Mamie Jacqueline).

Annie Collins (1875 – 1943)

GlobalApron_Patricia 1800s [640x480]

Le “tablier fleuri” (the flower apron)

Annie bought the fabric in 1937 from a store in Pont-à-Mousson, Lorraine. She made the apron herself and gave it to her only grand-daughter, Jacqueline Brass (Mamie Jacqueline), for her 12th birthday. Jacqueline was very pleased with this gift because it was a brand new apron (most aprons were made out of used cotton dresses). The pockets are a very important feature (where she would tuck a handkerchief).

At this time, girls and women would wear aprons not only to cook but also to read, sew, play cards, or go to the flea market. The most “fancy” aprons were worn to protect the “Sunday” clothes. Girls and boys would wear black or dark-colored long-sleeved aprons for school. Once used, these aprons were worn at home to do the chores.

Patricia's aprons closeup [640x480]

Le “tablier à bavette” (the bib apron)

Annie bought the blue pin stripe bib apron in 1940 from a peddler (or itinerant merchant) for 10 Francs. It is the kind of solid 100% cotton apron that was used daily for cooking or housecleaning. This apron still has its tag and has never been worn…except for this picture!!

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Mamie Jacqueline (86 years old) in her kitchen with her grand-daughter, Patricia.

Patricia visits her family in France several times a year, and on her last trip, she interviewed Mamie Jacqueline about the history of the two aprons.

To know the provenance of an apron is truly special. Imagine knowing when the fabric was selected, as with le “tablier fleuri,” and to hear your grandmother’s telling of receiving it as a birthday gift at the age of 12…almost 75 years ago!

Aprons truly do not hold us back…they take us back.


Tie One On…an apron, of course!

globalapron PERU!


Meet Allison Suarez, an architect and Peruvian apron-wearer. We met in San Diego at a Bat Mitzvah party (!). Her smile was like an invitation to chat it up and one which I immediately warmed to.Allison Suarez and us_Peru globalapron [640x480]

After living almost five years in Australia, Allison was on her way home to Peru. She was making stops along the way to spend time with friends and family, which is how our paths crossed at the Bat Mitzvah – Allison was in attendance as a friend of the solo guitarist.

I’ve always had Peru in mind as a destination to visit, my curiosity of the region piqued by an apron I’d been given. When I asked Allison about Peruvian aprons and the special pocket design, she immediately began telling me her apron story.

The smell of purple corn pudding transports me to my grandma’s kitchen when I was four. She was the number one fan of Peruvian cuisine, so visiting her was always a good excuse to get spoiled. I loved helping her as she cooked. Stirring the pudding with a wooden spoon was always my job. “Be always careful with the pan,” I remembered her saying. While we cooked, I wore my favourite apron, a woven apron with zip pockets. I used to keep the cinnamon powder container in one of the pockets, that way I wouldn’t forget to put it on top of the pudding when serving. What a pleasure to spend time with my grandmother!”

Peru apron_little girl

Peru apron_little girl pocket

The zippered pocket is a design element I’ve never before seen on an apron, other than the one I was given by someone who traveled through South America. The traveler told me that in Peru and other SA countries, women walk around wearing their aprons – the zippered pockets holding money and other items that needed to be kept safe from pickpockets. A true apron-as-purse.

Peru apron_ea in lady apronMy apron is almost like a skirt, it wraps so far behind. There are two side zipper pockets and a very deep front pocket that is divided into three separate pockets.

Peru apron_lady pocket 1

Tying on my apron so PC could take a snap of me wearing it, I had my hands in the front pockets, when I looked down and noticed the middle pocket sported a zipper! This is about the cleverest apron design I’ve ever seen. I’ve had this apron for years and never noticed the center zippered pocket. Wonders in apron-land just do not cease!

Peru apron_lady front pocket

Allison now lives in Lima, where she is a landscape architect. She loves to travel and “…meet people on my way.” A Peruvian apronista on her own lovely journey.


Tie One On…an apron, of course!

Global Apron Love: Australia


Over the past twelve years, I have received many, many versions of the prose “Grandmother’s Apron.” Annie Payne’s delightful rendition is from another continent, a first in my collection! Her lovely recollection of her grandmother’s apron is a wonderful example of the humble icon’s universality.

An Australian Grandmother’s Apron by Annie Payne

As a wee girl growing up in rural Queensland, my beloved Nan donned an apron almost every morning of her life. Her fresh clean apron usually hung on a wooden peg behind the kitchen door and was made from odds and ends left from other sewing projects, which Nan cut out from her brown paper pattern.

During the 1950’s, every Australian woman wore an apron during the day as she went about the business of running a home. Underneath her apron, Nan wore a ‘presentable’ house dress, pinned at the neckline with a brooch (her favourite being her mother’s cameo), as she seemed to have many visitors popping in to see her.

Annie in her apron - 1930's [640x480]

Annie wearing her Nan’s embroidered handiworked apron

In her infrequent spare moments, Nan liked to ‘run up’ small items on her Singer treadle sewing machine, such as aprons and pot holders for hot saucepans on the Aga stove, as she detested waste of any kind. At the end of her busy day, she tossed her apron into the wicker wash hamper and hung a new clean apron, ready for the next day’s work.

Nan, being a practical woman, used the hem of her apron as a pot holder to move hot pans in the oven or to remove hot cakes from cake tins to place on the window sill to cool. The edge of her much washed apron was wonderful for drying children’s tears and, on occasion, when dabbed with a lick of spit, to wipe a grubby child’s mouth.

From the chook yard, she carefully carried the day’s freshly laid eggs or half hatched chicks in her apron to the kitchen to place on the warm hearth. When unexpected visitors arrived at the back door, Nan’s apron was the perfect place for shy kids to hide behind, slowly peeping out from behind the safety of her generous skirt. She often used her apron to staunch the flow of blood from a nosebleed or accident, or to wrap iceblocks for a sprained wrist or ankle.

Whenever visitors drove along the corrugated sandy track from the main road, they were always greeted with morning or afternoon tea. The signal to sit down to enjoy the mouth-watering spread of scones, date rolls, Anzac biscuits, cream filled sponge cake and a pot of strong tea, was when Nan removed her apron, inviting everyone to pass plates to each other while she poured the tea.

Around 6.30pm, before serving dinner each night at 7, Nan removed her apron, tidied the wisps of hair that had escaped from the tightly twisted bun at the nape of her neck, and applied a slick of lipstick and a dab of perfume behind each ear. At 6.45 each evening, she walked out to the back veranda and rang the old ship’s bell and waved her apron, letting the men know that it was time to finish their chores, wash up and to change into a clean shirt for dinner in 15 minute’s time.

While not a ‘formal’ dinner in the usual sense of the word, Nan usually presided over a table set for 24 adults, with the odd small child or two perched on stools squeezed in between adults and polite table manners were expected from everyone. The food was almost entirely produced on our own property and serves were ample for the active lives led by everyone at the table.

I can’t imagine anyone inventing something to replace Nan’s indispensible apron, with its myriad of practical uses. No-one ever caught anything from her apron …….but LOVE!

Global Apron Love

For a while I’ve been thinking about the universality of aprons, and how in every major language, there is a word for apron

tablier – French

schutzblech – German

grembiule – Italian

エプロン – Japanese

앞치마 – Korean

avental – Portuguese

фартук – Russian

delantal – Spanish

停機坪 – Chinese

and that everyone, everyone (!) knows what an apron is and everyone has a story to tell.

Such musing has finally become a new apron initiative, where I will share aprons and stories collected from around the world. I’m very excited to debut…GlobalApron_logo_final [800x600]_thumb[3]

by Marianne Katte

I was born into a family nuts about boat races. Both my parents were quite into water sports (Father rowed in an 8-man boat and Mother was a member of the Otter swim club), and my grandparents had a villa on the Dahme where regattas were held.

In 1936, the family had the chance to attend the Berlin Olympics. Everyone went, except for my mother, who was pregnant with me. In those days, pregnant women did not go out, so mother was pretty much housebound. Had it been winter, she could have worn a large coat, but there was no such camouflage in the summer. So she stayed home, and never really forgave me for it.

woman & baby by tub [640x480]_thumb[4]

Mother (Eva Erika Ilse Katte, nee Lehrmann, at age 21) worked very hard to be the perfect housewife; she even ironed my diapers. In this photo, she is wearing a kittelschuerze – a full apron – to protect her clothing while bathing me. Berlin, 1937

Little girl and baby in aprons [640x480]_thumb[3]

My cousin Sigrid and me, dressed in dirndls and aprons. Berlin, 1938. I was so blond that I had practically no hair showing, and it was a trial for me because I also wanted to have such a wonderful bow in my hair.


globalapron™ stories and pictures are welcome & may be submitted via my website. The direct link is here. I’ll contact you when your story will be posted.

I’m always seeking to connect through the humble icon. I hope you will enjoy this new segment of my apron journey.


P.S. I must note that the globalapron™ logo is the design of graphic artist Mackenzie Miller. She is also responsible for my adorable Tie One On button. I’m such a visual person and Mackenzie deserves this shout out.

Oh! And there is time left to enter to win the Sew-Lovely Giveaway and the $25 amazon certificate courtesy of Kate Kelly. Entry for both giveaways here.

Tie One On…an apron, of course!